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Depression – What is It?
Depression is a common, debilitating mental illness that can cause significant harm to a person’s well-being. It is the single largest contributor to disability worldwide. It can interfere with a person’s work, school and social life. In severe cases, it can lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Depression can affect children and adults alike. People with depression may have changes in their moods, sleep patterns and appetite. They also may have physical symptoms, such as aches and pains or a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed.
There are many types of depression, and treatment depends on the type. It can be as simple as counseling or as complex as medication and therapy.
The most common type of depression is called major depressive disorder (MDD). Other types are bipolar disorder and postpartum depression.
In most cases, treatment involves a combination of medications and psychotherapy. Talking therapy helps you understand how your behavior, feelings and thoughts are causing your depression. The goal is to identify unhealthy behaviors and replace them with healthy ones.
Medication, including prescription antidepressants, can help you feel better by changing the chemicals in your brain that are responsible for feeling depressed. It can take time to find the right medicine for you, and it is important to discuss side effects with your doctor.
There are several different types of drugs that can help with depression, but some don’t work well for everyone. If you have taken a medication for depression for a long time and it hasn’t helped, your doctor may recommend trying a different drug.
If you think you might have depression, see your doctor as soon as possible. They will check your symptoms and use the ICD-10 guidance to make a diagnosis. They may also do some tests to find out if you have any medical problems that might be causing your symptoms.
Your doctor will ask questions about how long you have been feeling depressed, how you feel and what has been happening in your life. They may also ask you about your other health conditions and how they are affecting your mood.
Some doctors may also ask you about your thoughts about suicide. They will look for signs of depression, such as feeling hopeless or having a persistent desire to die.
Other signs of depression include difficulty concentrating, loss of interest in activities, weight changes, low self-esteem, and problems with social relationships or work. Your doctor will also look for changes in your eating habits, if any, and any other medical problems that might be causing your symptoms.
In some cases, you will need a referral to a specialist, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. The specialist will review your medical records and perform a physical exam.
If you have a family member with depression, support him or her by letting them know how they can help. You can offer to go on walks with them, invite them out for dinner, or give them a ride to therapy appointments.